Concerned that Africa, particularly Nigeria, is still vulnerable to emerging epidemics such as the Ebola Virus Disease, Lassa fever, Zika virus and others, a public health expert based in the United States, Dr. Babajide Sadiq, has warned that government at all levels must introduce adequate steps to prevent a re-occurrence.
Sadiq, who is currently the Health Equity Epidemiologist for the State of Texas, said he had developed a strategy called the Evidence-Based Model that would assist the country in checking disease outbreaks.
He said, “The Evidence Based Model in public health is what they use in developed countries. It involves employing the disease surveillance system in Nigeria, data collection and the healthcare management system. Following the absence of a proper health data system in Nigeria, my team and I want to design a good one.
“If we have the model in place, we would have adequate information on certain diseases, epidemics and the region or persons who are most vulnerable to contracting it. Our plan is to run the programme for two to three years in Nigeria.”
Working in partnership with the Bill Gates Foundation and similar non-governmental organisations, Sadiq, who is also the co-founder of Genii ‘Geniuses’ Associates, a global health consulting outfit, said the research would start in communities and rural areas of the country.
Sadiq said Nigeria was chosen to execute the project due to its laudable efforts in checking the EVD. He called on Nigerian scientists in the Diaspora to contribute their quota to the health sector.
“I have worked for the Centre for Disease Control and I have managed over 10 million data sets in Florida. But if everybody keeps saying they don’t want to come back home, who is going to fix the problem?
“The reports from the World Health Organisation about developing countries are not favourable. There are always cases of cholera, malaria, diarrhoea and so on. I have my family members who live in Nigeria and if somebody calls me to say that someone is knocked down by any of these diseases, it would affect me psychologically. I’m working with some experts with over 35 years’ experience.”
The scientist said the organisation was set to convene a health summit in December, which will focus on the management and prevention of disease outbreaks.
“This conference will enable experts from different countries to exchange ideas on how to detect epidemic, how to develop our capacity for rapid diagnosis and how we can develop our capacity for rapid case detection.
“Other aims include contact tracing, disease surveillance, biosecurity and biosafety, detecting biological trace, vaccine strategy and preventive measures,” Sadiq added.